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While many people think of veterinarians only when their pets are having healthcare problems or for ...
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Choosing a Veterinarian

Naturally, we all want the best for our beloved pets. Choosing a veterinarian is an extremely important decision and can strongly impact the health and well-being of your pet. This is not a decision that should be taken lightly or made on a whim or as a matter of convenience.

While veterinarians are required to receive extensive training and education in order to become licensed to practice, it is still important to take the time to find a veterinarian that is right for your pet. While some veterinarians act as general practitioners covering a broad range of services for many different types of animals, other veterinarians specialize in specific types of treatments and even in specific types of animals. If you have an exotic pet, this can be a major concern. You need to make sure you find a vet that is trained and equipped to treat your pet properly. In other cases, depending on whether your pet is experiencing a specific problem, you may need to seek a certified specialist. Certified specialists range from vets who specialize in dermatology to dentistry. Others specialize in eye problems, internal medicine or surgery.

Be aware that not all vets are the same. Just as some human doctors you have visited may not have been right for you because they did not have a good bedside manner or just simply weren’t a good ‘fit’ for you, some vets may not meet your and your pet’s needs.

You should also take budget into consideration when looking for a vet. Vets in metropolitan areas tend to be more expensive than vets in rural areas. Of course, there is likely to be a larger selection of vets, particularly those who specialize in a larger area than in a rural setting. When considering price and budget, make sure you know what you will be getting for the price.

Always ask about the vet’s hours when choosing a vet. Some vets have only limited office hours and may need to be out on certain days to make ‘house calls.’ Other vets offer a 24-hour service. Always inquire how many vets are on staff at a clinic. If it’s a one-man show the office may be more prone to closing in the event of an emergency than if it’s a practice.

Don’t forget to ask about how emergency situations can be handled, especially if your vet does not offer 24-hour service. Like kids, animals most often tend to get sick outside normal operating office hours. Ask who your vet uses for emergency care.

Get a feel for how each vet you consider handles animals, particularly when they are not feeling well. A good vet should be adept at handling animals with ease and making them feel comfortable.

Ask each vet you consider about their protocols for vaccinating both adult animals and young animals. Evidence now suggests that some vaccines may last longer than one year and as a result some vets are choosing to extend vaccination periods.

Finally, don’t forget to ask whether each vet belongs to a local medical association. Such memberships help to improve veterinarian’s proficiency and increase their awareness of situations that can affect their patients.

When you decide on a vet, take the time to set up a regular preventative care program for your pet. This will help to ensure your selected vet has accurate records for your pet and can more accurately treat him. Be sure to set up a visit so that each vet in the practice has an opportunity to meet your pet.

Keeping these tips in mind will help to ensure the right vet selection for both you and your pet, so you can both live happier, healthier lives.
 
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